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I have been meaning to write an article on arthritis for some
time and it turns out that May 2003 has been designated "Arthritis
Month" in The United States. Now, I have known that arthritis
and related conditions are endemic to modern culture, and now
I find out that one in three Americans suffer this condition,
and the rate of the number of people developing arthritis and
related conditions has doubled in the last 5 years.
From a 1999 Report and National Plan of Action put out by
the National Arthritis Foundation:
· Osteoarthritis, or "degenerative joint disease,"
most often affects the hip, knee, foot, and hand - but can affect
other joints as well. Degeneration of joint cartilage and changes
in underlying bone and supporting tissues lead to pain, stiffness,
movement problems, and activity limitations.
· Rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by chronic
inflammation of the joint lining. Symptoms include pain, stiffness,
and swelling of multiple joints. The inflammation may extend to
other joint tissues and cause bone and cartilage erosion, joint
deformities, movement problems, and activity limitations. Rheumatoid
arthritis can also affect connective tissue and blood vessels
throughout the body, triggering inflammation in a variety of organs,
including the lungs and heart, and increasing a person's risk
of dying of respiratory and infectious diseases.
· Fibromyalgia is a pain syndrome involving muscle
and muscle attachment areas. Common symptoms include widespread
pain throughout the muscles of the body, sleep disorders, fatigue,
headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome.
" Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions have an annual
economic impact on the nation roughly equivalent to a moderate
recession, with an aggregate cost of about 1.1% of the gross national
product." ($110 Billion per annum).
Of course, from a macrobiotic perspective this is not surprising.
The fundamental reason why the joints and tissues of the musculo-skeletal
system develop inflammatory and subsequent degeneration of the
cartilage and ligaments, tendons, bursa and muscles is the increasing
level of toxicity of the blood and tissue fluids caused by the
modern degenerated, devitalized and poisoned (with chemical additives
of many and sundry a description) dietary intake.
This increasing toxicity of the blood leads to toxicity of
the organs and tissues and they begin to degenerate. You can find
the relationship of the organs to the joints in my article on
The process of arthritis and related illnesses starts in our
intestines having to attempt to digest and assimilate a daily
intake of red meat, sugar, alcohol, drugs and medications, white
flour, dairy food and the most popular vegetables potatoes,
tomatoes, and bell peppers.
These three vegetables belong to the Nightshade family which
also includes hot peppers and tobacco and they have all since
the early days of modern macrobiotics been on the "to be
The reason these particular vegetables are to be avoided is
that they contain plant alkaloids, which are bactericidal to those
bacteria in the healthy human digestive tract, which aid proper
digestion and assimilation. In terms of yin and yang they are
all very yin vegetables so they have the effect of "leaching"
the bones, teeth, ligaments and tendons of minerals.
The macrobiotic approach is of course to change our way of
eating to a daily diet based on cooked whole grains and vegetables
and eschew the eating of the usual suspects meat, sugar,
dairy food, alcohol, etc., and the nightshades.
It will also be important to do the ginger compress regimen
on the abdomen as described here.
It is also very helpful if you have pain in any joint, ligament,
muscle etc., to do the ginger compress directly on the effected
part. Unlike the ginger compress regimen on the abdomen, which
is only recommended to be done 2-4 times weekly until the 64 treatments
are done, the ginger compress treatment can be done daily on painful
joints, ligaments etc.
If, for example, a person is experiencing "carpal tunnel
syndrome", which is an overly yin condition stemming mainly
from the kidneys and intestines, in addition to the dietary changes
and doing the ginger compress regimen on the abdomen, they can
also soak the effected hand up to the wrist in hot ginger water
for 30 minutes daily.
If doing the ginger compress daily on an affected joint or
bone, tendon, etc is not practicable, you can make ginger oil
and rub the oil into the painful area as often as you wish daily.
Grate one handful of unpeeled fresh ginger root. Squeeze the
juice out of the grated ginger into a glass bottle. Add an equal
amount of organic sesame oil (this is the best, if it is unobtainable,
use organic olive oil) and mix well.
Use it by rubbing it thoroughly into the painful area. This
can be done as often as you wish, every day. Store the ginger
oil in the refrigerator.
In changing the daily way of eating to a macrobiotic dietary
approach, doing the ginger compress regimen on the abdomen and
daily ginger compress or ginger oil treatment on the affected
part(s), you will gradually experience complete relief from pain,
stiffness etc., and greater mobility.
How long this will take will depend on many factors, chief
among which is your age and how long you have been experiencing
In my case, I was 28 years old when I started my macrobiotic
way of life and I was suffering sciatica so intensely that some
days I could not even get out of bed, it was too painful. I also
had chronically painful lower back problems for some two years
prior. These symptoms completely disappeared within a month never
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